Cuban president's daughter hopeful Obama will end embargo


The visit by Castro, a prominent gay-rights activist, has become a political headache for Obama after it became public that the State Department had granted her and two government officials visas to visit the United States. Several Democrats, including Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), have criticized the decision.

Castro, the head of Cuba's National Center for Sex Education and a proponent of gay marriage in Cuba, visited the United States to attend a panel of the Latin American Studies Association in San Francisco last week. Unlike Castro, Cubans are usually forbidden from traveling outside the communist-ruled island.

In the CNN interview, Castro goes on to say she hopes for an end to America's decades-old embargo against Cuba if Obama wins a second term.

“I believe that Obama is a fair man, and Obama needs greater support to be able to take this decision,” she said. “If Obama counted on the full support of the American people, then we could normalize our relationship and have better relations than what we had under President Carter,” she added. Carter lifted all restrictions on U.S. travel to the island during his presidency.

Castro also said the United States should release five Cuban intelligence operatives in exchange for Alan Gross, a USAID contractor serving a 15-year sentence for allegedly bringing satellite phones and computer equipment to members of Cuba’s Jewish community without a permit. The so-called Cuban Five were arrested in 1998 and accused of espionage and other crimes; the Cuban government says they were sent to spy on Cuban exiles in the United States, some of whom have been tied to acts of terrorism against Cuba including the 1976 bombing of an airliner that killed all 78 people aboard.

“I think that the six must be released — both the five Cubans and Alan Gross,” Castro told CNN. “I believe that this would be the happiest solution for all involved."

For more on Castro's remarks, click here.